Summer is the favorite season of countless people across the world. Depending on where you live, your summertime afternoons may be full of beach days, amusement park visits, and quality time spent with family and friends. While there are countless activities to pursue during the summer months, the season does have its fair share of hazards as well. Summer driving can be particularly hazardous. This article discusses some of the dangers that drivers may potentially face and how they can be mitigated.
More Pedestrians & Bikers Out & About
Pleasant weather may encourage people to roll out their bicycle or take a stroll around the neighborhood. Bicyclists and pedestrians are afforded very few protections in the event of a car accident, so it’s essential to stay focused and look out for them. By practicing defensive driving and staying alert, you do your part to make the roads safer for everyone on them.
Keep an Eye Out for Teenage Drivers
With schools on break and many teens working summer jobs, there will likely be more young drivers on the road than usual. Teenage drivers do not have as much driving experience as other, older motorists. They may be more likely to engage in dangerous behaviors when behind the wheel, such as texting or speeding. Younger drivers may also lack the experience to correctly react to unexpected hazards in a way that minimizes risk to themselves and other motorists. Negligent or careless driving of this nature puts everyone on the road in danger of serious harm or even death.
Construction Projects Can Cause Unpredictable Dangers
Summer weather tends to be more pleasant and predictable than that of other seasons. This can make the summertime a particularly appealing time for construction agencies and local governments to schedule road repairs or roadway expansions. Construction crews may be sent out to repair damage caused by seasonal storms, expand existing highways, or repair aging infrastructure.
Particularly for drivers that are not local to the area, construction zones can be complex and difficult to navigate. Anytime you find yourself passing through a construction zone, you should reduce your speed and carefully follow both posted signs and the directions of the work crew. If you know of a construction zone between you and your destination, it may be wise to seek an alternate route that will allow you to bypass the affected roadway.
Drunk Drivers Put Everyone at Increased Risk
A number of popular U.S. holidays fall during the summer months, including Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and Labor Day. People commonly celebrate these holidays with cookouts, fireworks, and a fair amount of drinking. While most partygoers are responsible enough to designate a sober driver, take a rideshare home, or find an alternative method of transportation, there is a significantly higher risk of encountering impaired motorists on the road.
Alcohol can significantly impact a driver’s ability to safely control their vehicle, with effects ranging from:
- Slower reaction times
- Reduced coordination
- An inability to focus
- Impaired judgment
- Poor vision
- Lack of alertness
- Inability to control a motor vehicle
Summer Heat Can Cause Issues With Your Vehicle
Extreme weather, whether hot or cold, can negatively impact your car’s ability to function properly. Heat can cause your vehicle’s fans, air conditioning, or belts to give out unexpectedly. While your car may not require air conditioning to function normally, driving around in a hot car can certainly be a miserable experience! It’s essential to stay on top of your vehicle’s maintenance so that your car is able to perform well at all times.
Summer heatwaves can also cause the air in your tires to expand. If this pressure reaches a breaking point, it can cause you to experience a dangerous tire blowout. Even an experienced driver can lose control of their car during an unexpected tire blowout, so it’s vital to check tire tread levels and pressure regularly. Your vehicle’s manual or the information panel on the driver’s side door jamb should note the recommended tire pressure level.
If you don’t have enough coolant in your car, it can cause your engine to overheat. It can potentially cost hundreds of dollars to diagnose and fix an overheating car, so it’s in your best interests to avoid this issue whenever possible. Proactive maintenance, keeping your car’s fluid levels at the correct measurement, and seeking assistance if you detect problems can help you avoid a hefty repair bill.
Protecting Yourself While Driving During the Summer Months
Summertime can bring with it a fair number of road-related hazards, but many of them can be mitigated by paying attention to the road, only driving when sober and alert, and obeying all posted traffic laws and signage. We hope that this article helps you enjoy a summer of safe, enjoyable travels!